Lauren Panepinto of fantasy art collective Muddy Colors has put together a stunning collection of animated female comic book, sci-fi, fantasy and film characters redesigned by women.
“It’s a given that in science fiction and fantasy movies, books, comics, and games, the dominant viewpoint has historically been that of a white heterosexual male,” Panepinto notes. “This means that characters of alternate race or sexual orientation have been the exception to the rule, and female characters are created through the lens of what male creators and consumers want. For the entirety of my own history as a geek, I have known that I was never the target audience.”
Geek culture, as Panepinto refers to it, has undergone considerable change in the past decade, having become far more inclusive towards women and people of color. Take the recent introduction of Kamala Khan to the Marvel universe, or an all-female Ghostbusters reboot, for example. But what if women could take ownership of some of the characters that have made up fantasy culture for decades? What would female superheroes look like if created by women? Panepinto, an art director, put together a collection of over two dozen illustrations by artists to find out.
But if you have preconceived notions of what the characters will look like, you may be surprised by the results. “There is no one right way to depict a woman character,” she writes, “and it is not as simple as ‘cover her up more’ because, as you’ll see, some of these redesigns are sexier than the original.”
Along with each illustration, the artist described her rationale. For example, when re-envisioning X-Men’s Storm, artist Alice Meichi Li submitted her equation: “(Nature Goddess + Weather Witch) X Punk Badass — Random Bikini” Christina Hess updated 1920-era Betty Boop and “modernized her to fit into today’s business world.” View the full collection here.
(Illustration: Alice Meichi Li)